Science Fiction Trivia

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ffutures
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

RockDoctor wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 6:13 pm
I'm going to dial it up a notch - mere nukes are now off the table. (Which also takes one of the minor characters in Banks' "Consider Phlebas" off the table). It's continent-buster and upwards now, which mean really big nukes (say, a gigatonne TNT equivalent and upwards ; I make that 4.20*10^18 J in real money). Or a "Total Conversion" bomb of 47g or more (if my abacus hasn't slipped a decimal place). Feel free to continue in an upwards direction.

Does "spectacular" imply high energies? I guess not. But biological suicides that combine certainty and spectacle are going to challenge. Oh no, I've got a couple, so I'm sure someone has come up with some that fit.
Challenge accepted... James Blish, A Clash of Cymbals (published in the U.S. as The Triumph of Time) (1959), part of the Cities in Flight sequence of novels and novelettes.

Evidence of a collision between two universes is detected — a matter-antimatter collision that reveals the cyclic nature of reality. This phenomenon, which will shortly accelerate to engulf all galactic space; in other words, the colliding universes will end in a transition from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch.

Mayor Amalfi of the spacegoing city New York sets up a project for several volunteers to leapfrog the transition and emerge in the new universe created by the catastrophe, and set things going again so that it expands rather than staying small and stable as various aliens want - they'll die doing it, but everyone else has died anyway. When this occurs he knows that everyone involved will probably follow instructions and release gases etc. from their suits slowly, to give the universe a steady start to the expansion; Amalfi decides that he'll literally go out with a bang, and triggers explosive destruction of his suit which causes the Big Bang...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_in ... ph_of_Time
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by Disembodied »

RockDoctor wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 6:13 pm
I'm going to dial it up a notch - mere nukes are now off the table. (Which also takes one of the minor characters in Banks' "Consider Phlebas" off the table). It's continent-buster and upwards now, which mean really big nukes (say, a gigatonne TNT equivalent and upwards ; I make that 4.20*10^18 J in real money). Or a "Total Conversion" bomb of 47g or more (if my abacus hasn't slipped a decimal place). Feel free to continue in an upwards direction.
It's not quite as big as a Big Bang, but Dark Star's Bomb #20 is a thermostellar device designed to destroy "unstable planets", so it's presumably quite impressive. It chooses to detonate itself after becoming convinced that it is the only thing in the universe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h73PsFKtIck
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

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Oh, I like these. This set is going well.
I'm going to award places (?) out of order, to keep the pleasing increase in magnitude sequence. So the existentialist Bomb from the -1'th member of the "Alien" Series gets the 3rd place "Disembodied", with 2 MBPs, and 4th place on the Roll of Honour (without mayo, with one compensatory MBP) goes to ffutures and James Blish for their engineering of a Big Bang.

Which leaves the thorny problem of number 5, a poisoned and blast-cleaned chalice, and somehow something to top your average everyday universe destroying Big Bang.

I'll have to try to find that "A Clash of Cymbals (published in the U.S. as The Triumph of Time) (1959)" story, because it's intrerestingly like Steinhardt and ... Turok's proposal a decade or so back of an "ekpyrotic" universe as an alternative to a boringly "cyclic" Big Crunch-Bang universe. Steinhardt had an interesting excursion into mineralogy with his work in a meteorite crater in Kamchatka identifying natural deposits of a mineral with a 5-fold symmetry axis. Which my crystallography lecturer would have said "Eh, wot, you cannot be serious!" to. Dodging Kamchatkan bears must be an interesting change for a theoretical physicist.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

It probably says something about SF that I can immediately think of two disasters that would qualify except that they aren't quite suicide.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by RockDoctor »

ffutures wrote: Sun Mar 24, 2024 12:41 am
It probably says something about SF that I can immediately think of two disasters that would qualify except that they aren't quite suicide.
That SF is, fundamentally, optimistic?
More optimistic than Silenus, at least.
Silenus, in Aristotle's 'Eudemus' wrote:
but for humans, the best for them is not to be born at all, not to partake of nature's excellence; not to be is best, for both sexes. This should be our choice, if choice we have; and the next to this is, when we are born, to die as soon as we can.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

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RockDoctor wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 10:23 pm
Which leaves the thorny problem of number 5, a poisoned and blast-cleaned chalice, and somehow something to top your average everyday universe destroying Big Bang.
Nobody got a number 5? A continuation of the trend to bigger bangs would be nice, but not essential.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

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RockDoctor wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 1:34 am
Nobody got a number 5? A continuation of the trend to bigger bangs would be nice, but not essential.
Come in, number 5, your time is up!
I'm regretting having mentioned the tactical nuke in "Consider Phlebas", because the several-times mentioned habit of species in Bank's "Culture" universe of "Subliming" to disappear up their own metaphorical navels seems to some (not least, many of Bank's characters) to be a form of suicide.
C'mon - spectacular suicides in SF. One poisoned, blast-cleaned and thoroughly sterilized (if not actively sterilizing, by induced radiation) Chalice awaits!
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

OK... I think there's a good case for the comic book version of Thanos falling into this category somewhere between "All of the universe destroyed" and "multiple planets destroyed" - he tries to wipe out half of all life in the universe to show that he is worthy to court Death, who in the Marvel universe is a female anthopomorphic personification. Of course Death would kill him if he ever got close enough, so it's essentially suicidal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanos
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

ffutures wrote: Thu Apr 04, 2024 9:12 pm
OK... I think there's a good case for the comic book version of Thanos falling into this category somewhere between "All of the universe destroyed" and "multiple planets destroyed" - he tries to wipe out half of all life in the universe to show that he is worthy to court Death, who in the Marvel universe is a female anthopomorphic personification. Of course Death would kill him if he ever got close enough, so it's essentially suicidal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanos
If you don't like that one, there is the suicide of what appears to be the entire Asgard race and the destruction of their homeworld in the last episode of Stargate SG-1 S10, Unending

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unending

Due to accumulated cloning errors the Asgard have no resistance to a disease which will shortly wipe them out. They decide to go out with a bang, helping the Tauri (SG1 etc.) by giving them all their technology, and blowing up their world and everyone in it so that the Ori (the current alien menace) can't get it.

It turns out that there is a surviving Asgard colony in another galaxy, revealed in later films etc., I can't actually remember if the Asgard actually know this when they commit suicide but I think not.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by RockDoctor »

I don't know enough about either of those SF collections (when I stopped reading Marvel in the early 1980s, I don't think Thanos had been invented, and I've never seen any of the StarGate stuff. Not even sure which channels it was on. It was even less appealing than the contemporary StarTrek cycles.) to comment, but yes, that's enough to give ffutures the chalice, poisoned, blasted clean and glowing a healthy lime-green. Over to you!
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

OK, rather than a big bang let's go for something really small... I'm looking for five works of SF in which something really small causes a MAJOR change to Earth, the human race, history, or two or more of the above.

Preferably five different types of "really small thing" and "major change" - and I think I'll pre-emptively rule out lumps of antimatter and diseases of all sorts! And as usual no two from the same fictional universe or creator.

The exact definition of "really small" can be argued about if necessary, but as a starting point it I'll go with the old 20 Questions "Animal, vegetable, mineral" thing and say smaller / less massive than a breadbox - say 60cm x 25cm x 25cm and mass under 2kg.

Breadbox?
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by Nite Owl »

Marvel Universe both Comic and Cinematic, The Infinity Stones. Take the Infinity Gauntlet out of the equation as it was much bigger than a breadbox.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

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Nite Owl wrote: Wed Apr 10, 2024 4:11 pm
Marvel Universe both Comic and Cinematic, The Infinity Stones. Take the Infinity Gauntlet out of the equation as it was much bigger than a breadbox.
That works - even a single infinity stone can do a LOT of damage. Four to go, and no more Marvel universe.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by Disembodied »

There's the Winslow, which is 66cm from nose to tail. The revelation that humans are its current custodians triggers all sorts of threats from a myriad of alien species who variously worship it or wish to attempt its destruction.
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Re: Science Fiction Trivia

Post by ffutures »

Well, he's 10% longer than my hypothetical breadbox but I'm willing to stretch a point... Three to go, and have an MBP for silliness. No more Buck Godot or Phil Foglio.
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